My Photography Process

I’m a sucker for secrets, not of the gossip kind, but of the “OH! So this is how it’s done?!” kind. I love behind-the-scenes anything, especially photography, which is why I’m finally following up on the post I wrote earlier this year about my camera equipment. Today, I’m going to share with you my photography process, from start to finish.

Photography Tips by brittanyMakes

I’ve had this post half written for longer than I’d like to admit, but was hesitant to post because I know how much I don’t know, and I didn’t want to come across as if I was a know-it-all. Trust this, I’m no professional! But, I have learned a lot over these last 4-ish years of blogging, mainly out of trial and error, and I think it’s only fair to share.

(I truncated this post because it’s huge, click through to read on!) ————————– read more

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Moody Florals

Moody florals

Moody florals

Moody florals


I’ve always loved floral photography but until now I never found the right spot to incorporate it in my home. As a DIYer, Its usually difficult for me to just purchase something before trying to take a stab at making it myself. I mean, this thought process doesn’t go for everything, like I’d never attempt to make myself a pair of (my favorite!) work pants (almost identical & cheaper version here) or cut my own hair… although I did try doing that when I was a rebellious teen, so much so my parents grounded me for cutting my own hair! I didn’t listen and forgot to hide the evidence (read: flush the toilet). I’m sure you can conclude what happened.

moody floral photography

Now that I finally found a spot to hang a big moody floral photo I decided to try taking some photos myself to see if any turn out.  I’m taking the pictures to be printed today. Fingers crossed they turn out!


My Camera Equipment

Hello! I’m going to touch on a subject today that I’ve never talked about before – my camera equipment.  Shocking! I know! I feel like camera talk and photo tips has become some big secret in blog land, like 3 or so years ago we were all talking about it, all teaching each other new tips and tricks. It was great! But now it’s either old hat – someone already talked about this already – or we’re all so focused on our own photography skills we don’t stop to think about other folks who might just be getting started. Just an observation of mine.

Spoiler alert: I don’t have any crazy secret photography tips, it’s been a LOT of trial and error over the years. I am absolutely no pro with my camera so take all this with a grain of salt that what works for me might not be what works for you. OK? Let’s go!

I haven’t yet shared my goals for 2015 (more on that soon!) but one of them is to take better photos. I think I take OK photos, but what I mean by ‘better’ is take more well thought out, well planned photos. Since I have a day job (preparing financial statements, woohoo!) I find that I’m always chasing sunlight on the weekends. I get extremely caught up in the amount of light in a day, sometimes it causes arguments with the mister, sometimes it makes us late to dinner dates… I’m making a huge effort (starting now!) to better time manage, plan & set up my photos in advance, and overall just stress about it less. If I can’t get the picture taken for some reason, I have to let it go. It’s a juggling act of planning and time management; the more I plan ahead the happier we all will be.

Alrighty! Back to the equipment discussion. The other part of my “taking better photos” goal is to up the ante on my equipment. I actually have to thank Santa (aka my dad!) for this one. I asked Santa for a wide angle lens, and the little elves in the workshop delivered! What’s funny, I’ve only purchased one lens for myself (this one) the other two (which I’ll get to momentarily) my dad bought me! He’s so awesome! Thank you dad! If it weren’t for him I would be taking pictures with my crappy iPhone.

My first camera was a Nikon D3000. I have no preference between Canon or Nikon, I think we were in Costco one day and we just grabbed it. Let me tell you up front, soon after I purchased the camera I regretted not doing more research on what camera I actually needed. You may think all you need is an entry level DSLR to get your photo game rolling, but what you didn’t know is the lesser expensive camera bodies typically do not have auto focus motors, which means if you want specialty lenses, you have to seek out lenses with auto-focus motors built in (which are more expensive). A lot of legit lenses are manual focus (which most of the time means the lens will use the auto-focus motor in your body to function). Avoid the big old headache of spending more money on lenses for a lesser quality body and just get the better camera body.   Oh, and I recommend not buying a camera kit (the camera body + kit lens all-in-one package).  Kit lenses are junk. Buy the ‘body only’ on Amazon and the lenses you want separately. Trust me, once you get a specialty lens you’ll never use the kit lens again.

My camera

Nikon d7000

I had the D3000 for a year and upgraded to the D7000 (I think the D7100 is the most current body, same thing as mine just released a year or so later).  I love my camera! Is it the best camera out on the market? Heck no, but it’s fancy and does incredible (enough) things.

My go-to lens

Nikon 35mm


Every blogger will tell you to start out with a 50mm.  Now, I don’t disagree, but I will say if you’re going to listen to my advice and buy the body only, I say start out with the 35mm. This is the lens you will use all the time! Like the 50mm, the 35mm is a fixed focal distance lens (Macro lens), meaning it doesn’t zoom in or out, but the focal distance is actually much closer to reality than the 50mm. This lens offers practically the same minimum aperture to get those beauty shots with the ability to fit more in each photo. All of my kitchen photos were taken with a 35mm f1.8.

navy, white & brass kitchen // brittanyMakes Kitchen Reveal

My Beauty Lens

Nikon 50mm

I like to say the 50mm lens is every blogger’s secret weapon.  The 50mm f/1.8 is only like $100. I would absolutely recommend, if you can, to throw in a few extra bucks to get that f1.4. The wider the aperture, the better! But the f/1.8 will do the trick just fine.  Natural light photos turn out absolutely beautiful with this lens. The bokeh (the blur in the background) is so soft. It’s surprising what this inexpensive lens can do.  I will say, however, I only like to pull this lens out for specific shots: ‘beauty’ shots, tight shots, up close and personal shots with gorgeous blurring in the background.

brittanyMakes home office

My Wide Angle

Nikon Wide Angle

This is my new toy! I am so crazy excited about this lens. It’s an off-brand Nikon lens, Tokina 11-16mm f2.8. You should know, there is a newer model of this lens, an AF-S lens (has an autofocus motor built in) but after digesting all the comments the autofocus motor in the new one falls just short of the object in focus, the ‘old’ model works with the motor in the camera body (which is more reliable anyway). So, better lens for a little less money!

Our house is a bit on the small side (thank you pricey California!) and I was having such a hard time really getting the full view of each room. Now that we’ve taken walls down in our living and dining room, I really needed a lens that would do the space justice. I’ve played around with this lens for about 2 weeks now and I absolutely love it. I can take pictures of my entire bathroom! My full bedroom! The baby’s room! All with minimal distortion. I hate seeing photos taken with wide angle lenses get all wonky in the corners. Here’s a picture of our kitchen with the wide angle:

brittanyMakes Kitchen

There you have it! Like I said, I honestly don’t have any secret game-changing tips on taking photos. There are a ton of photo advice blog posts out there.  I would be happy to share with you the ones I found useful and what my process is if you’re interested, just let me know! I just don’t want to bore you if you already know what you’re doing 🙂


A wedding & big news!

I’ve been holding out on you… we have some big news to share! We’re buying a house!!!

sale pending

We weren’t intending to buy a house.  We moved out of our loft early last fall to save every penny before our baby arrives.  We began apartment hunting late January but couldn’t find anything that fit our needs.  I’m not even sure how it happened, one day we just ended up checking out what we could afford as a mortgage in our price range and were surprised we could potentially make it happen, considering we live in the SF Bay Area is statement enough on how expensive it is to live here.

Our home buying process has been the most stressful thing EVER, which I think I’ll devote entirely to another post.  I have been overwhelmingly consumed with this house hunt, I’m sure you’ve noticed the lack of content on this ol’ blog here.  It’s OK though, I’m going to have so much content with our house as my muse I won’t know what to do with myself 🙂  I must say, this has been the craziest year ever!  First, we got married, then, we’re expecting a baby boy, and now? We’re buying a house! You’d think we aren’t easily satisfied people lol.

So, what else is new? Well, my little sister got married this past weekend.  I had the pleasure of being her photographer, which was so much fun.  I rented this lens, which is the most amazing lens I’ve ever laid hands on. I’ve been having so much fun photographing humans lately! Seriously though, how darling this young couple ?

wedding photography | brittanyMakes

and a super cute close-up of the hair nuzzling, naturally…

wedding photography | brittanyMakes

I think the last thing I owe you is a belly bump update… I must say I prefer hiding behind the lens in my preggo state, but here you go…


#34weeks and counting!


That time I photographed people

Wow.  OK Thursday, here you are! This week has been weird, yesterday my dad was in surgery for 17 hours (17 hours!!!).  That’s so long I don’t get it.  Anyway, thank you everyone who posted such great comments on my Instagram yesterday.  Totally heart warming, seriously.

In case you’re curious, my dad was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2010.  You might wonder if he’s a smoker, he’s not.  Never smoked a day in his life.  Sometimes shit just happens for no reason, to people SO undeserving.  Well, back in 2010 he went thru the normal chemo+radiation treatment, cleared it up and was cancer free for almost 3 years.  A couple months ago it came back so we’ve been doing all it takes to get rid of that crap.  I’ll admit, it feels a little strange to bring this stuff up on the blog, so much stuff goes on in peoples lives behind the scenes that we leave out, to keep a blog a pretty and happy place.  Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t share, but there’s really no reason not to share.  Someone else is always going through something similar, and for some, it helps to relate.  Anyway, for those who have battled cancer, have family members and loved ones battling cancer, I feel you.  It’s a rough ride, and recovery isn’t always as simple as walking into a surgical room with cancer, and walking out cancer free, so with that I feel lucky that my dad has this option.

So anyway, I don’t have a great segue to the topic of this post so I’ll just bring it up all awkward like – this post is about my first time photographing people! I usually photograph standing objects, like chairs or nightstands, and the occasional bulldog.  It was so fun to photograph  my good friends who are expecting a baby in a month.  This is a special time for them, which is a perfect excuse to take some pictures.  I am not a pro, nor do I pretend to be one, but photography is SO interesting and my skills are ever evolving and I really enjoy learning .  Without further adieu, here are a few of the pictures of this gorgeous couple:

maternity photo session | brittanyMakes

maternity photo session | brittanyMakes


Congratulations Schon & Alyson! I cannot wait until our sons meet, and to share in all the play dates 🙂


a black friday upgrade

photo 5-002

My fiancee was the first person to introduce me to Black Friday.  I guess my parents never had the desire to take me and my 6 other siblings to Best Buy at 4 am to wait in line for hours to score any door busters.  We were a handful, I don’t blame them, but I seriously can’t believe that I was 24 when I experienced my first Black Friday.

I’ve been yearning and pining to upgrade my camera for, what feels like, forever, but just didn’t feel comfortable paying full price.  Well, duh, black friday was just around the corner, so I begged my fiancee to let me buy it (thanks babe!) as long as I had a plan to recoup the costs (and not eat away at our wedding fund!).

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photography + food, and a bakery

Emi's biscotteria

Hello! I wanted to share with you an exciting side project I’ve been working on.  My soon-to-be sister-in-law is in the process of opening up her first store, and I’m helping her with the interior design!  She envisioned a rustic Italian cafe – mis-matched woods against white walls, a stark contrast of chalkboards and gilded frames… totally up my ally.  She knew I could help execute her vision.

While we’ve worked a lot on the interior, it’s not yet complete.  I will definitely share with you the grand reveal once the store is ready.  In the mean time, I wanted to share with you a yummy photography session I had with Emi’s cookies!

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